What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is the communication process of providing information and support to those with questions or concerns about genetic conditions. Genetic counselors are health care professionals with specialized graduate degrees in the area of medical genetics. They are board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

The Center for Perinatal Care at Meriter offers prenatal genetic counseling as part of its comprehensive care. Prenatal genetic counselors work as part of the perinatal heath care team providing information and support to those who are pregnant or are considering pregnancy.

Meriter’s genetic counselors meet with women to discuss screening and genetic testing options, review information about genetic conditions, possible birth defects and potential risks to the pregnancy, review available options for further health care in a manner that respects the personal and cultural beliefs of the patient or family, provide coordination of follow-up care to those patients where a problem has been identified in the pregnancy, identify resources and serve as patient advocates for women and their families.

What does genetic counseling involve?
Genetic counselors collect, review and discuss relevant family, pregnancy and medical histories. The goal of genetic counseling is to asses a patient’s questions and concerns through discussion and then provide information in a manner that is tailored to and supportive of the patient’s individual needs and background.

Who might consider genetic counseling?
Individuals and families may meet with a genetic counselor to discuss or review information because of concerns about family history, pregnancy exposures such as medications or infections, abnormal screening tests or ultrasounds, or women that will be 35 years of age or older at the time of delivery.

How Do I Contact a Genetic Counselor?
If you additional questions or are interested in learning more about genetic counseling, please contact The Perinatal Care Center at 608-417-6261.

Sincerely,
Christine Schmidt, RN
Nurse Manager
Perinatal Ambulatory Services

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